U.S. Markets close in 4 hrs 21 mins

Yingli 1Q loss more than doubles

NEW YORK (AP) -- Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. said Thursday its first-quarter loss more than doubled, but its sales were significantly higher than expected and the company backed its shipment guidance for the full year.

For the quarter ended March 31, the Chinese solar company's loss totaled RMB 611.8 million ($98.5 million), or RMB 3.91 (63 cents) per American depository share. That compared with a loss of RMB 283.2 million, or RMB 1.82 per ADS, in the same quarter the year before.

Excluding one-time items, the company said it posted an adjusted loss of 62 cents per ADS for the recent quarter.

Revenue fell 15 percent to RMB 2.68 billion ($431.4 billion) from RMB 3.15 billion.

Analysts, on average, expected a loss of 41 cents per share on $388 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Yingli, like other solar companies, has struggled amid the steep global drop in solar prices that stemmed from a glut of solar panels on the market. But for the current quarter, Yingli said its shipment volumes were higher than expected, helped by strong European and U.S. markets, along with rapidly growing demand in new markets like Japan.

The company said it still expects its module shipments for the full fiscal year to total between 3.2 gigawatts and 3.3 gigawatts, which would represent an increase of 39 percent to 44 percent over prior-year levels.

Also on Thursday, Yingli said that its chief financial officer and chief strategy officer will switch jobs, effective immediately. Yiyu Wang will become CFO, while Zongwei Li will become chief strategy officer.

Yingli shares fell 12 cents, or 4 percent, to $3.15 in morning trading.